Here is an introduction to Sefer Yehoshua, the first book of the Nach.
The book begins 30 days after Moshe Rabeinu dies. His student Yehoshua takes lead and will lead Bnei Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael where they will conquer the land.
Perek Aleph is made up of three general topics:
1) Hashem speaks to Yehoshua about is saying, you must be strong and have courage, חֲזַ֖ק וֶאֱמָ֑ץ. Hashem repeats a few times to Yehoshua, as long as you follow Torah and Mitzvot I will be with you and you will be very successful in everything you do. There is a very famous pasuk and many people don’t know it is taken from this perek, which is וְהָגִ֤יתָ בּוֹ֙ יוֹמָ֣ם וָלַ֔יְלָה, learn Torah day and night. This is what Hashem says to Yehoshua, as long as you obey Torah and Mitzvot you will do very well in all your wars.
2) Yehoshua prepares the Shotrim, the people in charge of Bnei Yisrael saying; Prepare, in three days time you are going to enter Eretz Canaan.
3) Yehoshua speaks to Shevet Reuven, Shevet Gad and half the tribe of Menashe. These are the tribes that wanted to stay on the eastern part of the Jordan River and the agreement that came with Moshe Rabeinu in the end of Chumash Bamidbar is that their families will stay in the eastern part of the Jordan River while they are going to fight with all Bnei Yisrael and conquer the land of Canaan and now Yehoshua is reminding them of their commitment. They say to Yehoshua, we will do as we agreed as long as Hashem will be with you.
This is Perek Aleph. Hashem says to Yehoshua be strong and have courage. Yehoshua prepares the people in three days they’re going to enter the land and he speaks to the two and a half tribes. Now we’re going to enter Perek Bet with a bit more detail.
Yehoshua Ben Nun sends two spies to Eretz Canaan and he does it very differently to Moshe Rabeinu. Moshe Rabeinu sent 12 spies, one from each tribe. We know who they were, all of Am Yisrael knew this. When Yehoshua sends these two spies we know basically nothing about them. It says חֶ֣רֶשׁ לֵאמֹ֔ר – this was done secretly and we don’t know who these people were.
Rashi shares with us that these were Pinchas and Calev, but the Pasukim don’t say that. These two spies come to a woman named Rachav and the King of Yericho hears that there are two spies in there. He says to Rachav, where are these people? And Rachav makes up a story even though she knows they’re in her house. She says these two people ran away out to the mountains and if you chase them you will find them. Then Rachav speaks to these two spies and she says; ‘We are so scared of you. The entire country is scared of you. We heard of the stories that your God has done to the Egyptians, things in the desert, we are all so scared of you’.
Because her house was by the wall, she was able to have them exit through the window going down a rope down the wall. Before they left, they gave her a line of scarlet thread תִּקְוַ֡ת חוּט֩ הַשָּׁני and they said to her, ‘tie this by your window, this way we will know where to find you and when we will take over the city of Yericho we will know not to harm you’. They leave and hide for three days in the mountains and they go back to Yehoshua saying Hashem has given us this land and everyone is very scared of us.
I would like to end with a message to take from into our own lives. The message of today is; Rachav took one action, she hid two people. When the king knocked on her door she lied to him and she did a chesed with these two people.
What was the result of this chesed? The result was amazing.
First of all she probably saved the lives of these two people, but in addition she saved her own life because Bnei Yisrael were commanded ‘Lo Tichayeh Kol Neshama’ – You can leave none of the people alive in Eretz Canaan. When they will go and fight in Perek Vav, Rachav and her family are going to be saved. Why? Because she did chesed with these two spies, Bnei Yisrael will do chesed with them and Rachav and her will family survive and join Am Yisrael and are not killed. Rachav does one favour to these two people, she saves their lives and she and her family are saved forever and can carry on living.
The message to take from this is Chesed. Often you do Chesed and you’re helping other people. Often aside from helping other people, you yourself benefit so much from the Chesed that you did for these people. We say this every day, אֵלּוּ דְבָרִים שֶׁאָדָם אוכֵל פֵּרותֵיהֶם בָּעולָם הַזֶּה וְהַקֶּרֶן קַיֶּמֶת לו לָעולָם הַבָּא.
The second thing is Gemilat Chasadim. When we do Chesed not only do we benefit in the next world but in this world not only do those people benefit that we did chesed with, but we also get such a great benefit.
May we all be Zocher to jump on every act of Chesed that we can do for each other.
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